Olentangy Parents And Their Enormous Boulders

14 Dec

Well you probably think it’s easy being a parent in one of the most affluent school districts in central Ohio, but really, they have their own enormous boulders to push around through their lives.  For example, do you know how far these embattled folks have to drive in their Lexus Highlanders with heated seats and multiple DVD players, in order to get to the nearest Pottery Barn?

Minutes, I’m telling you.  Minutes which could have been spent shopping at Polaris or getting a pedicure or maybe just swirling the ice cubes in their drinks as they look out the window plotting something evil.  Minutes which can never be recovered – minutes lost in time.

So when I found out that only 70 percent of Olentangy parents had been notified about the two-hour school delay Monday morning, I about hit the roof.  I said, damn it!  The wealthiest parents in the state – you know, those with the most tools and resources – they don’t have time to watch the news or log on to websites like the rest of us.

It really hits close to home because I graduated from Olentangy Schools, although for most of the time that I was attending kindergarten through twelfth grade in the same building (except third grade, which was literally held in a pair of double wides in the parking lot), it was not very affluent at all.  These days, for example, that single building (minus the double wides) is one of maybe seventeen district schools.

I think we had about twenty affluent families, and the rest of us were a bunch of grinning hillbillies with straw in our hair, running around barefoot, shooting each other in the ass with BB guns.  The first step toward the district’s current mind-blowing affluence was probably kicking the rest of us the hell out.

But you know, someone had to lay the foundation for the Utopian school district that exists today – someone had to dump truckloads of gravel and carry pizzas and get arrested and pay fines, before the millionaire lawyers and tech dudes with their scary hot wives all slapped down a bunch of mansions where our corn fields used to be.  Dropping a brave, new, affluent district on top of the ruins of our old, backward-ass drunk factory was probably a lot like conquering the Aztecs – logistically pretty simple, but exhausting.

Nobody ever gives the Conquistadors credit for how tired all that genocide must have made them, you know?  It’s always like, focus on the evil, focus on the evil.

Anyway, between banning perfectly good books from their schools, like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (the autistic kid says “shit” a few times) and supporting the struggling local spa/salon industry, Olentangy Parents are already stretched pretty thin.  That’s why, according to the article, the district subcontracted a separate company to call every single parent in the district to personally let them know whenever school is cancelled or delayed.

And the company, this time, dropped the ball!  Only about thirty percent of parents received a phone call – just ask Erika, a concerned parent who according to the article knows that she hasn’t been getting the alerts because her phone “didn’t ring.”

Of course her husband did in fact get a call, and you might be thinking, say pal – how ’bout breaking off a text to your wife, give her the old heads up, you know?  I mean, is she right across the room from you or what?

But that’s not his job!  It’s the job of a specially subcontracted company to call everyone and repeat the television or read the 10tv website to them.  Why should Erika’s husband have to screw around with something this company should have been doing all along?!  Where’s his bailout?!

Don’t worry – the article assures concerned Olentangy Parents that the subcontracted phone call company is SO fired, and nothing makes affluent parents feel better than hearing about people being financially punished right before Christmas.  And now you might be wondering – what are parents going to do in the time it takes to find a new company to call them and read websites to them?

Well, that’s my favorite part of the article:

“During the transition the district will not be using the automated phone system for any delay or closure notifications. 

The district will continue to use e-mail, its Web site and its Twitter account (@OlentangySD) as well as television and radio stations to alert parents of school delays or cancelations.”

So yeah, they’re going to go ahead and go from thirty percent getting phone calls to zero percent getting phone calls – that’s how important the phone calls are, see.

I mean, on the surface, it does seems like a pretty good fix.  The district is going to continue using five efficient and time-tested methods of letting people know when school is cancelled, but you know, what are you supposed to do if you’re in the middle of your pilates class and you left your iPhone in your locker, and the television is on Robin Meade, and I don’t know, you didn’t feel like listening to your radio on the way to the gym because you’re hungover or something?  And for some reason, your kids weren’t all over this question from the second they woke up?

This is 2010.  You can’t just expect parents to access some kind of magic, constantly-updated database of digital information for real-time school closing announcements.  You need to ring their phones, so they know something’s going on.  Either that or we have to start sending massage therapists out to everyone’s house to tell them personally and them give them a nice, stress-relieving massage with some whale song and candles. 

The madness has to stop.  These folks are way better on every level than say, me for example.  Or single moms in the inner city.  Or anyone else in America who has to spend thirty seconds in the morning pulling up a website to find out if school is closed or not. 

I mean, sure, I have three kids and never once in my life have I ever received an actual phone call letting me know school was cancelled, and sure, if I got one, I’d give the phone a pretty weird look, since I’d already know it because my kids are clever and proactive, and I listen to them. 

But that’s because I’m a regular, ordinary parent, not an Olentangy Parent – of course I operate like a caveman. 

That’s why I’m proposing that we all light a candle every morning and remember the inconvenience that was caused on Monday, when…

Yeah, I think you get me.  I’m joking, in case that was too subtle, and I think I’ve pretty much beaten the joke to death.  It’s not likely to get any funnier, so let’s just be blunt. 

Dear Olentangy parents – if you are upset about not getting a phone call from your own personal district butler, then you are spoiled and lazy to a sickening, jaw-dropping degree.  And you’re kind of embarassing yourselves, and you are dooming your children to a really unpleasant hybrid demeanor of helplessness and entitlement.  Bow your salon-sculpted heads in shame.


Posted by on December 14, 2010 in Future Tom Grab Bag, Parenting/Family


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10 responses to “Olentangy Parents And Their Enormous Boulders

  1. Kimberly Kinrade

    December 14, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    OMG Tom you are one funny man and I CANNOT believe this is even an issue worthy of anything. Yes, poor parents. lol
    My 4 year old would know before she opened her eyes if there was a school delay for snow or whatever. Of course, we live in So Cal, so a snow delay would be freakish on several grounds. And my 4 yr old is a genius, which cannot be said for these poor parents. But whatever, you get the idea. My sympathy to you!

  2. patricia truel

    December 14, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    you guys are just idiots and jealous of us…

    • Tom Chalfant

      December 14, 2010 at 8:38 pm

      Well, I’m definitely jealous of the mansions, but the helplessness and entitlement and complete lack of a sense of humor – not so much. Thanks for a really insightful, nine-word comment, though!

  3. Andy

    December 14, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Awesome, Patricia, you’re not a spoiled snob, we’re just idiots who wish we were as good as you!

  4. patricia truel

    December 14, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    not at all. i grew up in a house with no running water and not even an inside bathroom. i now live in powell. i don’t drive a lexus or an suv. we work and we work hard.

    your comments are one sided. maybe you should have an open mind and not think like that. don’t let those types of people sway you.

    • Tom Chalfant

      December 15, 2010 at 1:28 am

      Patricia that’s all great. My only question would be, do you need your school district to call you on the phone and personally tell you when school is cancelled? Or can you determine that sort of thing all on your own like the rest of us? Because that would be the actual subject of the post.

  5. Gregory Wilcox

    December 16, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    sounds like overkill to me but i guess they have to spend that tax money somewhere . . . why not pay someone to use an automated system to provide redundant information to people who are just going to cuss and moan when they fail to point out the obvious. fire that company! then spend more money on a ‘study’ to determine a better way to dispense information. i know a few 12 year old kids who would love to have a few extra thousand dollars for dropping a text into the mill after the superintendent decides to cancel school. that news would get out to the people faster than any company run by elite socialites ever dreamed possible. SNOW DAY!!!!

  6. Greg Willms

    December 17, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Being another of the Olentangy “old guard”, I completely agree with you Tom. I live in another obscenely affluent school district now (Upper Arlington) and I think the parents here would be offended at the suggestion of such a system.. Which would imply that each of them hadn’t already purchased half a dozen things to deliver this sort if information already.

  7. Jen B

    December 17, 2010 at 3:27 am

    The 3rd grade double wides! I love it! What a memory, Tom. Yeah, what happened to that Olentangy? The one with the cinder track, the roach infestation and the ridiculous repeated school levy failures? The one with AP English, but no other AP classes in sight? I tell you, that’s the Olentangy I attended, and I’m damn proud of it.


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